Theme of Loss in Sherman Alexie's Novel What you Pawn I will Redeem and Small Good Things by Raymond Carver

1943 (4 pages)
Download for Free
Important: This sample is for inspiration and reference only

As individuals, we all deal losses. At some point in time we lose connection with friends and family, we suffer financial loss, or we break down emotionally. We deal with the losses in a way that match our personality. There are stories that have an influence on people emotionally, but in some stories, we are so deeply connected that it becomes difficult to let go. “What you Pawn I will Redeem” and “Small Good Things” are examples of are examples of a descriptive writing style, where the author uses a descriptive tone to show the readers exact picture of a character rather than just telling. He persuades readers participation and transition them to an unforeseen experience in life in a deeper way. Both the short stories talk about a loss that character have to deal with. The loss of the regalia in What you Pawn I Will Redeem and loss of a son in Small Good Things. Jackson had faith in himself and Howards and Ann’s supportive nature towards each other made them determined whilst facing challenges

Jackson in the beginning, has no clue that he will encounter the regalia on street that he walked as a homeless. In his mind the regalia had been stolen years ago and where it would been now. “But the strangest thing of all was the old powwow-dance regalia I saw hanging in the window” (Alexie). Passing by a pawn shop, Jackson finds the regalia with his friends Junior and Rose of Sharon and manages to negotiate a time frame with the pawn broker to collect money to get the regalia back. In various stages in his life, Jackson deals with his internal conflict’s day by day, losing his loves ones through out his life where one day he encounters his family regalia. From here his perspective towards life takes a turn and the main objective is to get his family regalia by any means.

Sherman Alexie describes the narrator’s desperation to regalia as quest. Jackson seem to be possessed by the spirits of his ancestors. He forgoes leisure time and begins his expedition for the regalia. “That may be. But I care about it. It’s been a long time since I really cared about something” (Alexie 22). To Jackson the regalia seem to be only thing he is worried about at that moment. Being separated from his family for long time, the regalia was the only portal that connected him to the past, it brought his memories back from his tribe and his family where the regalia was known to be a antique. He makes his mind that nothing would be more important now apart from getting the regalia.

Moreover, getting hold of the regalia was a core obstacle for Jackson. Being broke and homeless, he had no plan where to start in order to get money for the regalia; but he never panicked. He kept on spending whatever amount he gathered on himself and his friends. “I’ll give you twenty-four hours to come up with nine hundred and ninety-nine dollars. You come back here at lunchtime tomorrow with the money and I’ll sell it back to you. How does that sound” (Alexie 6)? After agreeing with the pawn brokers condition, Jackson had a huge milestone to achieve. He starts with the twenty dollars that the pawn broker gave him. He got opportunities to collect and save money, but he kept on spending them. He managed to negotiate help with the Big Boss to sell newspapers, but he gave up on them after selling a few. Likewise, officer Williams hands, him thirty dollars but he spends it on the breakfast with the Aleuts. Jackson tend to be a fine kindhearted man. Throughout the story he showed that he is selfish man, whatever money he made he kept on sharing with others, just leaving the moment, however this action displayed a careless side of him.

No time to compare samples?
Hire a Writer

✓Full confidentiality ✓No hidden charges ✓No plagiarism

On top of this, Jackson had his own plans for the regalia. He is decent and friendly that people are willing to help him get the regalia. At first, he honest and explains is situation to everyone whose he trusts, and thinks will assist him, but he never takes a short cut legal action to get the regalia back “No,” I said. “That’s not fair. The pawnbroker didn’t know it was stolen. And, besides, I’m on a mission here. I want to be a hero, you know. I want to win it back, like a knight” (Alexie 22). Some where inside Jackson, the spirit of a tribes a man still alive. He wanted to get the regalia back like a knight who are known for their bravery for fighting of dragons and wining battle. Rather than going to the police and filing a report he opted to get it by his own ways. A way where he made the rules and followed them without taking any lawful help. His actions remain valid throughout the story, yet his effort to achieve the regalia is somewhat falls short handed, “He let me out of the car, handed me two and a twenty, and shook my hands” (Alexie 23). Despite Jackson being a homeless, officer Williams tries to help out gives him thirty dollars to him so that he can start gathering money again for the regalia. Not only he seeks helps from other, but he loves helping other as well. He meets the Aleuts at the wharf again, rather than saving the money for himself he offers them out to breakfast. He tries to conquer his fear of tomorrow by living moments of today rationalization his moralism.

On the other hand, Howard and Ann were facing a personal battle where their son Scott is hit by a car and is fighting for is life in the hospital. Ann displays love of a mother where she becomes restless and demands for answers from the doctors when there is no improvement on Scotts health “I almost thought I’d forgotten how, but it came back to me. All I had to do was close my eyes and say, ‘Please God, help us—help Scotty,’ and then the rest was easy. The words were right there. Maybe if you prayed, too,” she said to him” (Carver 8). Ann is a strong lady, been awake all night she still believes Scotty will open his eyes soon and she had been praying all night just to see her son get better she has ultimate faith in god that her prayer will be answered. “That’s good,” she said. For the first time, she felt they were together in it, this trouble. She realized with a start that, until now, it had only been happening to her and to Scotty. She hadn’t let Howard into it, though he was there and needed all along. She felt glad to be his wife” (Craver 9). Howard reassure Ann that in this battle she is not alone. He had been praying since Scott arrived in the hospital. Though there had been some communication break down between them for a while but, putting that behind Howard is there to back her up and at this instance Ann realizes how fortunate she is having Howard as a husband.

Furthermore, Howard and Ann go through similar situation like Jackson, the only difference has that they did not face a physical battle like Jackson. However, they face emotional challenges as soon as Scott is hit by the car. “There, there,” she said tenderly. “Howard, he’s gone. He’s gone and now we’ll have to get used to that. To being alone” (Carver 23). The night had been sleepless for Ann and Howard they had been continually looking for signs of improvement and persuading themselves that Scott will be all right but there is no hope that his condition is changing. The couple handled the scenario by staying strong and hanging onto each other. They had to go through hash condition of stress and tension, which was inevitable. They could do not run away from this rather stand and face what was in front of them which they did but, the result was not promising as they expected, and they lose Scott.

Moving on, Ann and Howard are very strong, as Scott is still fighting an battle of survival. They stay in hospital all night just to see their son gain consciousness, but the results are not as expected. Howard suggest Ann to take a break, go home and freshen up. “We’ll want to be here for a while even after he wakes up” (Carver). Ann resists and does not want to leave Scotty alone. Though there is not much improvement in Scotts health yet, Howard is positive that Scott will be alight and awake anytime soon. He urges Ann not to worry and he will be with Scott till she returns from home. He knows that Scott is a fighter since he made it through the night.

In Addition to this, Ann and Howards actions towards each other had been promising. They held onto each other from the beginning of the rising incident. “Howard sat in the chair next to her chair. They looked at each other. He wanted to say something else and reassure her, but he was afraid, too. He took her hand and put it in his lap, and this made him feel better, her hand being there. He picked up her hand and squeezed it. Then he just held her hand. They sat like that for a while, watching the boy and not talking. From time to time, he squeezed her hand. Finally, she took her hand away” (Craver 8). Nothing seems to matter than Scott at this moment. Ann and Howard put there difference apart and stood along each other, giving each other alight of hope that their son will be ok.

The two stories resemble a gesture of loss. Jackson, the narrator losses his friends and family throughout his life where he ends up being homeless. The missing of the regalia had been a major loss to his family and now that he managed to locate it, he sets himself on a mission to the regalia back. Throughout the story Jackson comes up with numerous ideas to collect money by the regalia, but none of them are successful. At the end he managed to get the regalia from the generous shop owner. The price he paid for regalia was not in monetary terms but, the hard work he went through to collect money for it. On the other hand, Ann and Howard were not so fortunate. They faced a painful battle hoping their son will recover. In the beginning Ann and Howard seem not to be terms with each other but, Scotts accident brings them together emotionally they pray together for Scott and look out for each other. They hold onto each other’s hands giving each other hope that all will be good. At the end they loss Scott.

The narrators in the story expose readers to aspects of life such as Jackson having faith and believing in himself that he will get the regalia back. He had a positive attitude and shows dedication. He never gave up, and through his kind virtues he manages to win the regalia back. Ann and Howard show us true nature of support and reliability. They held onto each other till the end fighting a battle where the possibilities were not in their favor. They tired all the way they could to save their son but were not successful. Each of these characters face their loss in different ways. Certain losses are beyond our control but each person deal with them in a way that deals with their personality.

You can receive your plagiarism free paper on any topic in 3 hours!

*minimum deadline

Cite this Essay

To export a reference to this article please select a referencing style below

Copy to Clipboard
Theme of Loss in Sherman Alexie’s Novel What you Pawn I will Redeem and Small Good Things by Raymond Carver. (2020, December 01). WritingBros. Retrieved February 24, 2024, from
“Theme of Loss in Sherman Alexie’s Novel What you Pawn I will Redeem and Small Good Things by Raymond Carver.” WritingBros, 01 Dec. 2020,
Theme of Loss in Sherman Alexie’s Novel What you Pawn I will Redeem and Small Good Things by Raymond Carver. [online]. Available at: <> [Accessed 24 Feb. 2024].
Theme of Loss in Sherman Alexie’s Novel What you Pawn I will Redeem and Small Good Things by Raymond Carver [Internet]. WritingBros. 2020 Dec 01 [cited 2024 Feb 24]. Available from:
Copy to Clipboard

Need writing help?

You can always rely on us no matter what type of paper you need

Order My Paper

*No hidden charges